May 13th, 2004

krazy koati

Why is everybody always picking on me?

Could we please get an injunction or something against Tom Batiuk? His work to make Funky Winkerbean an endless trail of depression, doom, and despair, let up with just enough rays of hope to crush everybody later on, justify it, but this week in his other strip, Crankshaft, we have the discovery that it's Crankshaft's birthday and somehow, incredibly, everybody has big important plans and can't be around this evening. Even his family are off somewhere or other, but they remembered the important thing, and they ask him to tape Masterpiece Theater for them.

Yes, the only story more predictable than getting trapped in a meat locker, the only punch line more predictable than a Jay Leno monologue can sustain, the only premise more boringly over-told than incompetent Star Trek time travel gibberish and Batiuk is laying it on us. Granted no creative person can come up with all-new stories all the time, and granted a talented person can wring new life out of the most turgid clichés -- has Batiuk given us any hint that he's up to finding something worth doing?

A lot of people whine about Classic Peanuts taking up space on the comics page, but when this is the ``living'' competition it's hard to see why.

Incidentally -- yes, I will be buying the Fantagraphics books doing the complete run of Peanuts. I'm just waiting until it's closer to my next trip to the U.S. (shipping's easier) and will buy from the publishers, since apparently that's the only way apart from visiting the Charles Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California, to buy the book with Schulz's Li'l Folks and other pre-Peanuts material. You can see my interest in that.

Trivia: The term for ``channel surfer'' first appeared in the 1950s in print as ``channel swimmer.'' Source: The Story of the English Language, Mario Pei.

Currently Reading: Nathaniel's Nutmeg: How One Man's Courage Changed The Course of History, Giles Milton.